Building Sustainable and Accessible Online Social Support for Stigmatized Populations


HIV is a viral infection that can be treated effectively with modern anti-retroviral therapy.  However, it is critical that people living with HIV (PLWH) engage actively with the health care system and take their medication regularly.  Unfortunately, the social stigma surrounding HIV (and HIV / AIDS) can present people with a barrier to obtaining and following such medical guidance. The goal of this project is to build an online social support site to address this problem, and measure the impact of participation in the site on clinical outcomes for PLWH.

This project, under the direction of Assistant Professor Josh Introne, is a collaborative project with A.J. Boggs, an IT company based in East Lansing, MI, and Matthew 25, an HIV clinic serving western Kentucky and southern Indiana.  The project begins with a participatory design effort, leading to an anticipated site launch in the fall of 2020, followed by an analysis of site usage to evaluate its impact.